Changes due to COVID-19
New protections are in place for residential and mobile homes site tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19:
- Tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1, 2020.
- Rents on residential properties or mobile home sites will not increase while Alberta’s State of Public Health Emergency remains in effect.
- Late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments until June 30 and cannot be collected retroactively for this time.
- Landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while COVID-19 is being managed.
- Landlords can still file applications and receive orders for possession if the reason for the eviction is unrelated to rent and/or utility payments, or if a tenant refused to negotiate or comply with a payment plan.
Tenants must be served a written notice that states the reason for the eviction and the date the tenancy is to end.
Tenants can dispute an eviction, unless it is for unpaid rent. If the tenant objects to the reason, the landlord must go to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) or court for an order terminating the tenancy and to get possession of the premises. Both parties can present their arguments to the RTDRS or Court.
At any time, a landlord and tenant can agree between them to end the tenancy by a certain date and save the expense of taking the matter to RTDRS or Court.
For more information, see the Residential Tenancies Act and Regulations.
Reasons for eviction
The most common reason for an eviction is when a tenant fails to pay rent. Tenants can’t withhold rent to force the landlord to do something, such as making repairs. The landlord is legally entitled to have the rent paid in full when it’s due.
If the tenant cannot pay the rent and lets the landlord know beforehand, the landlord can let the tenant stay and pay rent later or over time. However, the landlord is under no obligation to do this.
Other reasons for eviction include:
- breaking rental agreement terms
- damaging the rental premises
- disturbing or endangering others in the rental premises
Types of notices
There are 3 types of notices, and each one is used in a specific situation:
- At least 24-hour notice
- used in the event of significant damage to the premises or physical assault or threat to physically assault the landlord or another tenant
- At least 48-hour notice and at least 14-days notice.
- used in the event of an unauthorized occupant. See Unauthorized occupants section below for details.
- At least 14-days’ notice
- used in the event of a substantial breach
All notices must:
- be in writing
- be signed by the landlord or the landlord’s agent
- set out the rent that is due and any additional rent that may become due during the notice period
- state the reasons for the eviction
- state the time the tenancy ends
All notices for unpaid rent must also include:
- a statement indicating that the tenancy will not be terminated if the tenant pays the rent due—and any overdue rent payments—on or before the termination date specified
A 48-hour notice to unauthorized occupants does not have to include the reason for the eviction.
48-hour and 24-hour notices must also state the time the tenancy ends.
If either the tenant or landlord does not fulfil the responsibilities in the residential tenancy agreement or under the Residential Tenancies Act, they may have committed a substantial breach.
A substantial breach by a tenant may result in an eviction, and includes if the tenant
- hasn’t paid rent in full when due
- interferes with the landlord or landlord’s employees
- disturbs other tenants (e.g. by playing loud music late at night or being noisy)
- endangers others in the building
- causes significant damage to the residential premises
- doesn’t maintain or keep clean the residential premises and all property included in the residential tenancy agreement
- doesn’t vacate the premises when the tenancy ends
If a tenant commits a substantial breach, the landlord can apply to the RTDRS or Court to end the tenancy, or give the tenant at least 14-days’ notice to end the tenancy.
A tenant must be given the notice at least 14 clear days before the tenancy is to end. This means the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends don’t count as part of the 14 days.
Whether the tenancy is fixed term or periodic, a landlord may commit a substantial breach when:
- the premises aren’t kept in a condition that meets minimum housing standards under the Public Health Act and regulations and
- an executive officer issues an order under section 62 of the Public Health Act and the landlord hasn’t complied
Tenants can give at least 14-days’ notice to end a tenancy if they believe that the landlord has committed a substantial breach.
The notice is void if the landlord objects in writing within 7 days of receiving the tenant’s notice, as long as the order has been complied with or stayed.
Assault or threats
If a tenant assaults or threatens to assault a landlord or another tenant, or does significant damage to the residential rental premises, the landlord can:
- apply to the RTDRS or Court to end the tenancy, or
- give the tenant at least 24-hour notice to end the tenancy
The landlord may pursue the tenant through the RTDRS or Court for any damages not covered by the security deposit.
If the tenant does not leave
If a tenant has been given a 24-hour notice but does not move out, the landlord has 10 days after the tenancy ends to apply to the RTDRS or Court for an order that confirms the tenancy will end.
If the landlord does not apply to court within 10 days, the notice is void and the tenancy hasn’t ended.
If tenant lives on the premises
If someone who is not listed in the tenancy agreement is living in the residential rental premises, the landlord has the right to give that person at least 14-days’ notice to leave.
If the person does not move out within 14 days, the landlord can apply to the RTDRS or Court for an order for that person to vacate the rental remises.
If the tenant has moved out
If the tenant has moved out and an unauthorized occupant is living on the rental premises, the landlord can give them at least a 48-hour notice to leave.
If the occupant does not move out within 48 hours, the landlord can apply to RTDRS or Court for an order for recovery of possession of the rental premises.
Respond to notice
A 14-day notice is void if the landlord objects, in writing, within 7 days of receiving the tenant’s notice, as long as the order has been complied with or stayed.
If a tenant objects to the reasons stated for the eviction in a 14-day notice, they must:
- give the landlord a written explanation of why they disagree
- give the written objection to the landlord before the 14 days are over
If the tenant objects or doesn’t leave at the end of the 14 days, the landlord can apply to RTDRS or Court for a court order to terminate the tenancy and get possession of the rental premises.
Until RTDRS or Court issues the order, the tenant may remain.
The Consumer Contact Centre can provide information on many topics related to landlords and tenants: